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Florida Deputy On Leave After He Was Filmed Roughing Up A Black Teen

A Florida sheriff’s deputy is on leave after a cellphone video showed him roughing up a Black teen and denying he had a right to free speech.

The incident occurred on the night of Saturday, Aug. 15, outside of a Tijuana Flats restaurant in Wellington, Florida, as reported by WPTV. In the 13-second video, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputy Charles Rhoads argued with a handcuffed Kevin Wygant about the First Amendment.

Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputy Charles Rhoads (left) is on leave after his tense interaction with 19-year-old Kevin Wygant (right) went viral. (Photo: Screenshot/Ben Crump/Twitter)

“Yes, I do have the freedom of speech,” Wygant, 19, told Rhoads.

“Not to us you don’t,” Rhoads replied.

“Oh, I don’t have the freedom of speech to you?” Wygant asked.

Suddenly, Rhoads grabbed the back of Wygant’s shirt and shoved him against a wall.

“Fuck no,” the deputy hissed. “I’ll show you what f—–g freedom of speech is.”

The video cut off as witnesses began to express their disapproval of Rhoads’ behavior. The video went viral after civil rights attorney Ben Crump posted the clip on his Twitter page. It drew outraged reactions from several viewers of the clip.

“This is absolutely terrifying. This cop LITERALLY thinks he’s above the law,” wrote one person. “If they do this when the cameras are rolling – what do they do when its off (or when they turn em off).”

“These racist terrorists think that they can take away your first amendment rights because they’ve been doing it unhindered for over 400 years! Keep the viral videos going on these racist clowns!!” tweeted a second.

“He’s doing that around a group of people with their phones out, which means he’s definitely behaved like a thug in other instances. How many use of force complaints does this officer have?” asked another viewer.

Wygant told the Palm Beach Post he and his friend were at the restaurant to speak to an employee. The person was busy so Wygant decided to order food. He told the outlet his friend began to argue with a manager and soon after, a customer intervened. Wygant claims he was trying to diffuse the situation when the deputies arrived.

“The sergeant said, ‘If you don’t leave right now, I will charge you with trespassing,’ ” he recalled. Rhoads walked up moments later.  

“I said, ‘Am I being detained?’ He said ‘no.’ I said, ’I would like to stay here and talk.’ He said, ‘That’s it. You’re under arrest.’ ”

The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s office tells a different story. The deputies were there because they got a call requesting the removal of unwanted guests “due to them causing a disturbance in the restaurant,” according to an arrest report.  

Wygant was reportedly asked to leave several times by a sergeant, but according to the report he kept returning. He was arrested and charged with trespassing after the warning. His friend was also arrested, but he received several charges including disorderly intoxication, trespassing after warning, obstruction of justice and resisting without violence.

On Monday, Aug. 17, the office announced Rhoads was placed on leave and the altercation is under investigation.

“We have identified the Deputy who responded to the disturbance that occurred yesterday evening at a restaurant in the Village of Wellington,” the statement said. “Sheriff Bradshaw does not condone the behavior of our deputy and takes this matter very seriously. He has requested an internal affairs investigation into this incident. Our deputy has been placed on administrative leave until the conclusion of this investigation.”

What people are saying

8 thoughts on “Florida Deputy On Leave After He Was Filmed Roughing Up A Black Teen

  1. Kevin says:

    The problem is accountability this kid obviously thought he was above the law by first causing a scene when asked to leave by the manager then again by the police he was defiant several times. This doesn’t give this punk kid the right to break laws and run his mouth. He lacks respect to adults and police he caused his own issues. These kids today lack discipline and are just disrespectful. He deserves his charges. Also is this website just for blacks ? If so it figures youd agree with this punk kid.

  2. Zuleika says:

    Regardless of what the kid did, there was no need for the excessive force CAUGHT ON VIDEO.

    If you agree with what the cop did or said, you’re blatantly racist & ignorant.

  3. Dalvin says:

    This idiot cop obviously thought he was above the constitution. The officer caused his own issues. Instead of telling the kid he will be arrested if he does not leave he decides I’ll go ahead and do that. Any brutality especially threats to constitutional amendments should be meant with swift punishment.

  4. Randy says:

    “Kevin” have you ever heard the quite, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!” Similarly, If you can’t stand dealing with what goes along with being a ‘good’ cop without becoming a criminal yourself, then go be something else. No one loses their rights as an American because they mouth off to cops. He may deserve the charges against him, but that doesn’t give cops the right to rough him up. As for kids lacking discipline and the site being just for blacks, you’re showing your ignorance. Did the white kids who shot up schools and killed people en masse lacking discipline?

  5. Lisa says:

    You are a special kind of stupid! He has free speech!! This is not 1720 try it if you want to! You internet thugs are the weakest

  6. Anonymous says:

    So…the officer did nothing wrong right?

  7. taylor ray says:

    I’m not black and I often Come here to read articles ect, I think the website is meant to highlight new relevant to African Americans. Also what is really disturbing is you never once mentioned the behavior of the officer and had no comment as to how awful his behavior was. Cops have a very important job to server and protect and they expected to have the mental fortitude to handle themselves with dignity and respect for victims and suspects alike regardless of how the suspect is acting or is being accused of acting. Cops definitely deserve respect for the job they do but when they don’t get it, they have to maintain their composure asl failed to happen here.
    Also these are aledged activities to have been made by the suspect, just because the police report states he was acting one way, we have seen to many times where officer will write anything the need to in a report to justify their behavior and the arrest.

    This kid could have been acting up, but its up to the police to be leaders and act professional

  8. Anonymous says:

    This is what is wrong with hiring any fool . Training is needed and firing the ones that will not comply with the kaw.

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